Bushfires Council and committees

The Bushfires Council is a statutory body that has a legislated responsibility under the Bushfires Management Act 2016 to advise the Minister for Environment (the minister) on bushfire prevention and control in the Northern Territory.

Members of the Bushfires Council are appointed by the minister for a three-year term of office, and represent a range of land management interests from across the NT.

Bushfires Council Members to be announced soon.

Regional Bushfires Committees are statutory bodies established under Section 32(1) of the Bushfires Management Act 2016. There are five committees; one is established for each of the five Fire Management Zones in the Territory.

The functions of a committee, as detailed in the Act, are

  1. to advise the Bushfires Council on measures to be taken to mitigate, manage and suppress bushfires in the committee’s Fire Management Zone, and
  2. to endorse a regional bushfire management plan, prepared by Bushfires NT, for the committee’s Fire Management Zone.

Bushfires NT is a division of the Department of Environment, Parks and Water Security; the department is responsible for administration of the Bushfires Management Act and the Minister appoints members of the Bushfires Council and Regional Bushfires Committees. Members are appointed for a term of up to three years, and can be reappointed for further terms if the Minister so wishes. The Minister appoints one member to chair the council or a committee.

The committee’s involvement in development and endorsement of a regional bushfire management plan gives committee members a substantial say in regional bushfire management. The regional plan is developed by Bushfires NT, but must be endorsed by the committee. It clearly documents land use and fire management objectives within the region, and includes a detailed risk register.

The risk register clarifies who owns the risk, and details existing control measures and potential risk treatments. It uses standard risk analysis methods to grade risks according to likelihood and consequence, and thus it determines acceptability and need for further action. You can view current regional plans here.

The committee’s other core function is to advise the Bushfires Council on regional bushfire management matters. The council reports directly to the Minister, and the chair of each committee sits on the council. This structure gives Regional Bushfires Committees a strong voice in the development of bushfire management policy in the Territory.

It is important that each committee represents a broad cross section of regional land use interests, and members are selected for their knowledge and experience in land and fire management, as well as their ability to represent the interests of land use sectors. A regional committee is most successful when members freely share information and adopt a collegial approach to their tasks.

While there is no prescribed schedule of committee or council meetings, it is usual for committees to meet twice each year prior to council meetings, with extra meetings at the committee chair’s discretion. Extra meetings may be required during development of regional plans.

Last updated: 04 October 2021

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